Latin Americans try to avert Haiti invasion

ALARMED at the prospect of the United States embarking on another military venture in its backyard, Venezuela yesterday proposed sending a diplomatic mission to Haiti to pre-empt an invasion by American-led forces.

The plan seemed to reflect widespread unease in Latin America about Washington's intentions. Brazil disclosed yesterday that it had been congratulated by its neighbours for abstaining in a United Nations vote on Sunday authorising an enventual invasion.

Any opposition from the Latin American governments would be likely to weigh heavily with the Clinton administration, which hosts a Western hemisphere summit in Miami at the end of the year. The only exception seems to be Argentina, which has offered troops for a landing force.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Burelli, said that military intervention would be a 'precedent that we do not want and we do not accept'. His government was trying to persuade Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil to send a joint mission to Port- au-Prince to persuade the military regime to step down before an invasion is ordered.

In Washington, officials stressed that no decision on military action to oust the regime of Lieutenant-General Raoul Cedras had been taken. 'An invasion is not imminent at this point in time', William Gray, a former congressman now serving as special adviser to President Clinton on Haiti told the Washington Post. 'The time may come when it's necessary to take more drastic measures, but I don't think we're at that stage yet.'

Haiti this week declared a state of siege, which is allowed under the constitution if civil war or invasion is threatened. Since then, local media outlets have been warned against criticising the regime and a prominent opposition politician has been injured by gunfire in the streets.

Despite the UN resolution, President Clinton faces several persuasive arguments against using the military option, with support for intervention remaining weak on Capitol Hill and among voters. Only if America is faced with large new inflows of Haitian refugees is the US public likely to back an invasion.

Mr Gray was uncrompromising about what Washington expects of the regime in Haiti, which overthrew the elected President, Jean- Bertrand Aristide, in a 1991 coup. 'The only thing we are interested in discussing with the military leaders is the terms of their departure', he said. 'We are not interested in discussing . . . power-sharing arrangements or cosmetic changes.'

Officials from the Dominican Republic said yesterday they had reached agreement after an international force to patrol their border to prevent smuggling of fuel and other goods into Haiti. The mission will include 88 civilians and troops from the United States, Canada and Argentina.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own